All parents or legally responsible adults (carers), along with the State, are responsible for a child’s education (The Children Act 1989) and they can choose the most suitable form, which may include schooling, home education or other.
The vast majority of children who are of compulsory education age (5-16 years of age) are educated in schools. Local authorities (LAs) are obliged to finding a free school place for all children.
Parents and carers are expected to make sure their children attend school regularly and on time. They are also expected to help their children achieve an expected standard in their learning, to ensure they complete homework tasks set by the school, and to maintain expected standards of behaviour whilst at school.
Parents are entitled to regular updates from the school about their child’s academic progress, their educational needs and their child’s wellbeing. Parents are also entitled to be informed about the focus and content of the curriculum that their children study (i.e. what they are being taught in school).
It is normal for parents and carers in England to have some direct involvement in the life of the school, especially at the primary stages of education (up to age 11). The exact form and level of involvement varies from school to school. One popular area of parental involvement in England is the schools’ Parent Teacher Association (PTA) or similar. Sometimes it is known as the ‘friends of’ whichever school. PTAs fulfil a number of functions including: raising additional funds for the school through activities such as Christmas and summer fates and sponsored events; organising social events; and building and fostering community relationships.
Parents in the classroom – Most primary schools encourage parents and carers to go into their child’s class to read with them, this can be done regularly (i.e. weekly) or occasionally.
Assemblies – Many schools (particularly at the primary stage) have special assemblies or performances that parents are invited to. Sometimes these will be during the school day (for example weekly or half-termly award assemblies) and sometimes they will be in the evening (for example, Christmas concerts).
Parent/teacher communication – Schools encourage ongoing informal communication between parents/carers and the school. There is often an opportunity for partners of primary school children to talk informally with teachers or teaching assistants at the end of the day when they collect their children. In addition, most schools have parent evenings two or three times a year. This is where parents and carers can formally meet with their child’s class teacher (or, in the case of secondary school children, teachers) to find out how their child is getting on and to discuss any concerns either may have about the child.
School trips – parent and carers are encouraged to go with children on school trips. Indeed, some trips are only possible if they have additional support from parents and carers.
The governing body – All schools are required to have at least two parents/carers on their governing body. Parent governors are elected by other parents at the school. They are there to represent the voice of all parents at the school.
To sum up - Parental involvement in schools usually gets less, as the child gets older. There is a greater level of parental involvement in primary schools than there is in secondary schools.
last modified: Tue, 10/30/2018 - 11:53